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Ad Tuendam Fidem

by Catherine Frakas 17 Mar 2021

Ad Tuendam Fidem Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio by which certain norms are inserted into the Code of Canon Law and into the Code of Canon of the Eastern Churches Pope John Paul II May 28, 1998 Explanatory Note of L'Osservatore RomanoOn 9 January 1989, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published new formulas for the Professio Fidei et Iusiurandum fidelitatis in suscipiendo officio nomine Ecclesiae exercendo (AAS 81 [1989], 104-106), to replace the previous formula of 1967. These formulas were approved by the Roman Pontiff in a special Rescript (Rescriptum ex Audientia SS.mi Quod attinet, Formulas professionis fidei et iuris iurandi fidelitatis contingens foras datur, 19 septembris 1989: in AAS 81 [1989], 1169). Given that the authentic text of the new Code of Canon Law, which had been promulgated on 25 January 1983 and published in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, did not contain the new formula of the Professio Fidei, which, in addition to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, enunciates three categories of truths, it became apparent that the Code of Canon Law, and later the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, lacked juridical, disciplinary and penal provisions for the second category of truths. Consequently, once this lacuna in the Church's universal legislation had become clear, and given the compelling need to forestall and refute the theological opinions being raised against this second category of truths, the Holy Father decided to promulgate the Apostolic Letter Ad Tuendam Fidem, by which precise norms are established in canon law regarding the second category of truths indicated in the second paragraph of the concluding formula of the Professio Fidei, through modifications to canons 750 and 1371, n. 1 of the CIC and to canons 598 and 1436 of the CCEO. To protect the faith of the Catholic Church against errors arising from certain members of the Christian faithful, especially from among those dedicated to the various disciplines of sacred theology, we, whose principal duty is to confirm the brethren in the faith (Lk 22: 32), consider it absolutely necessary to add to the existing texts of the Code of Canon Law and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches new norms which expressly impose the obligation of upholding truths proposed in a definitive way by the Magisterium of the Church, and which also establish related canonical sanctions. 1. From the first centuries to the present day, the Church has professed the truths of her faith in Christ and the mystery of his redemption. These truths were subsequently gathered into the Symbols of the faith, today known and proclaimed in common by the faithful in the solemn and festive celebration of Mass as the Apostles' Creed or the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. This same Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is contained in the Profession of Faith developed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which must be made by specific members of the faithful when they receive an office that is directly or indirectly related to deeper investigation into the truths of faith and morals, or is united to a particular power in the governance of the Church. 2. The Profession of Faith, which appropriately begins with the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, contains three propositions or paragraphs intended to describe the truths of the Catholic faith, which the Church, in the course of time and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit who will teach the whole truth (Jn 16: 13), has ever more deeply explored and will continue to explore. The first paragraph states: With firm faith, I also believe everything contained in the Word of God, whether written or handed down in Tradition, which the Church either by a solemn judgement or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium sets forth to be believed as divinely revealed. This paragraph appropriately confirms and is provided for in the Church's legislation in canon 750 of the Code of Canon Law and canon 598 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. The third paragraph states: Moreover I adhere with submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act. This paragraph has its corresponding legislative expression in canon 752 of the Code of Canon Law and canon 599 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. 3. The second paragraph, however, which states: I also firmly accept and hold each and everything definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals, has no corresponding canon in the Codes of the Catholic Church. This second paragraph of the Profession of Faith is of utmost importance since it refers to truths that are necessarily connected to divine revelation. These truths, in the investigation of Catholic doctrine, illustrate the Divine Spirit's particular inspiration for the Church's deeper understanding of a truth concerning faith and morals, with which they are connected either for historical reasons or by a logical relationship. 4. Moved therefore by this need, and after careful deliberation, we have decided to overcome this lacuna in the universal law in the following way: A) Canon 750 of the Code of Canon Law will now consist of two paragraphs; the first will present the text of the existing canon; the second will contain a new text. Thus, canon 750, in its complete form, will read: Canon 750 1. Those things are to be believed by divine and catholic faith which are contained in the word of God as it has been written or handed down by tradition, that is, in the single deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and which are at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn Magisterium of the Church, or by its ordinary and universal Magisterium, which in fact is manifested by the common adherence of Christ's faithful under the guidance of the sacred Magisterium. All are therefore bound to avoid any contrary doctrines. 2. Furthermore, each and everything set forth definitively by the Magisterium of the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals must be firmly accepted and held; namely those things required for the holy keeping a

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